As many of us are participating in non-violent resistance and marches this weekend— the Los Angeles United School District teachers strike, the Women’s March and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations— I am inspired to reread the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, by Dr. King. I consider it CliffNotes on the wisdom behind some of the most effective non-violent demonstrations in the world. The letter was written in 1963 as a response to white clergymen who criticized King’s methods of peaceful resistance.
The letter called out the clergymen who chose inaction as their lack of action maintained the status quo of racial injustice. Earlier this year, President Obama requested that we find one thing in our community to change and take one step towards changing it. We can ensure that the businesses and politicians that we support are making decisions to preserve our environment. We can protest at all levels, by making phone calls, writing letters and showing up for marches. We can refute racist remarks or stereotypes.
I love the theme of our next Second Sunday experience: “Don’t Take Anything Personally.” This advice has helped me keep a positive attitude through a lot of unfair situations. I can’t begin to know what makes another individual choose to mistreat others. I can, however, control my response and actions, fight the good fight, and choose love.
I ask you to decide to do one peaceful thing this weekend in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you aren’t already, donate to a social justice project or volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about. Show up to a rally or march. The next time someone posts something incendiary ad problematic on Facebook, and you think of a biting response, save it. State your case. If they can’t see things your way, wish them well and agree to disagree. Keep being that positive, loving change that you wish to see in the world. We are always at choice to choose peace, love, and unity.
Board Member, Community Outreach